Helping others a core principle in Islam By S N Smith, Ottawa


Helping others a core principle in Islam By S N Smith

“I’m a success today because I had a friend who believed in me and I didn’t have the heart to let him down.”  — Abraham Lincoln

If you have achieved anything in life and arrived at any level of success, it’s because at least one person along the line believed in you and offered you support. That person, or persons, encouraged you to do better and had real faith in you. Someone gave you your first job. Someone said yes to your proposal. Someone noticed you did a good job and rewarded you for your efforts by offering praise and words of encouragement. This, in turn, motivated you to achieve even greater levels of excellence. That person was your real friend because they wanted you to succeed and really believed you could even when, at times, you did not believe it yourself.

And now, if you possess any sense of decency and gratitude, you have to pay it forward to someone else. Now it is your turn to encourage and support others as they try to make their way through life. Don’t be a selfish person and keep all of your success and what you learned in life to yourself, but share it with others.

As a  believer, you must realize that you possess human obligations toward not just the people around you, such as your family and friends, but to the wider society. Helping others, within the capacity that you have been given, is a core principle in Islam. You may not always get the thanks and recognition that you think you deserve, but you should not focus on that, but rather focus on doing good and leave the rewarding part with Allah.


One hadith in particular that underscores what I am trying to say comes from a collection called An-Nawawi:


Whosoever removes a worldly grief from a believer, Allah will remove from him one of the griefs of the Day of Judgment. Whosoever alleviates [the lot of] a needy person, Allah will alleviate [his lot] in this world and the next. Whosoever shields a Muslim, Allah will shield him in this world and the next. Allah will aid a slave [of His] so long as the slave aids his brother. Whosoever follows a path to seek knowledge therein, Allah will make easy for him a path to Paradise. No people gather together in one of the houses of Allah, reciting the Book of Allah and studying it among themselves, but tranquility and peace descends upon them, mercy envelops them, the angels surround them, and Allah makes mention of them amongst those who are with Him. And whosoever is slowed down by his actions will not be hastened forward by his lineage.”

What we can take from this hadeeth is that helping others is connected to a believer’s worship of Allah. In fact, it can be said with confidence that helping someone is an act of worship.  There are numerous ahadeeth and Qur’anic verses which back up this point.

We, as believers, already know the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is the highest and most noble example for us to follow. And we know from his biography (seerah) that he (pbuh) made a lot of effort to help others, even if it meant that he had to sacrifice something. So drawing from his (pbuh) example, we can say that Islam is a faith that makes helping others and society a core principle.

Even as someone helped you, you should also do the same in order to show your gratitude for those opportunities you have been given, as well as fulfill a central teaching of the Islamic faith.

Don’t wait for those opportunities to come to you, but seek them out. Trust me, you will be given many opportunities.